The Grand Finals: OG vs PSG.LGD Rematch

Result: OG 3-2 PSG.LGD

Dotabuff

Possibly the best Grand Finals in TI history – 5 game series, and an incredible redemption story.

The first OG-PSG.LGD matchup was a close one – it boiled down to one teamfight in Game 3 that could really have been anyone’s game, except that JerAx saved OG with an epic Echo Slam, which allowed OG to take the game while two of LGD’s cores were dead.

LGD on the other hand seemed to figure things out – with Somnus M/Maybe having great games against EG, cleaning them up 2-0.

OG managed to come back in Game 4, where LGD seemed like they were about to take the game, after clearing two lanes of rax. By Game 5, LGD slowly showed signs of fatigue – already having played 6 games.

Game 5 was yet again another slow start for OG, but was quickly turned around by godly plays from Ana on the Ember Spirit. OG really looked comfortable with their picks, and ultimately deserve the Aegis.

The Winners:

OG

Nobody believed that the Open Qualifier squad had a chance to take it all. The squad that had to reform after two core members Fly and S4 left, needing to call in ana and a pubstar, Topson, to fill out the roster to try and make The International.

OG had a spectacular run, with most people thinking their run would end at every round they play. With possibly the three best series to watch:

  1. OG vs EG
  2. OG vs PSG.LGD UB Finals
  3. OG vs PSG.LGD Grand Finals

Instead, OG played with an unmatched fire and desire to win, crushing their opponents with their own style of Dota (Treant Protector offlane, Wraith King support) that just showed 5 guys having fun playing Dota.

OG indeed defied all expectation, going with a strong run to win it all.

PSG.LGD

This was the worst year for China in The International, and PSG.LGD were the only Chinese team to make it further than the second round. As the strongest Chinese team coming into the tournament, they found their groove later into the season, winning two Majors back to back.

Going into TI, people figure they would not be able to stay in the Upper Bracket especially since they had to play their first series against VP. However, they quickly showed that they are a team to be reckoned with – quickly dropping VP into the Lower Bracket with a quick 2-0. However, they were eventually dropped to the Lower Bracket via OG, where they defeated EG to get their rematch in the Grand Finals.

LGD did not lost to anyone in the main stage except for OG.

LGD.Maybe is really the best player to build a team around, and he’s as good as they tout him to be. There’s no shame in the 3-2, although on a different day, LGD could definitely have taken the Aegis.

Evil Geniuses

EG had an extremely disappointing start to the year, with only one Minor win and low tournament placements throughout. Things looked to change when they brought in Fly and S4 – there was such a big change in how EG looked with a competent shotcaller and drafter in Fly, and even though they needed to qualify via Open Qualifiers, they showed up in the Main Stage, even defeating defending champions Team Liquid.

What’s next for EG: Honestly they should stay together, however it is unknown what Fly and S4 are planning after their last minute move to EG. Fly especially has a stake in OG, so we’ll have to see how this pans out.

Team Liquid

TI7 Champions. TI8 4th Place. Great teamwork and synergy. The only scenario I see this not being a win for Team Liquid is if any of the players leave. They’ve performed well throughout the year and made a deep TI run – and they should be able to carry on doing this if they remain as a unit.

What’s next for Team Liquid: Staying together as a team is the only good result for Team Liquid. Changing players would introduce uncertainty to a roster that has proven to be able to take it all.

Optic Gaming

Making it into the Upper Bracket was already exceeding most people’s expectations for Optic. With PPD at the helm, young players 33 and CCnC were able to shine.  Placing Top 8 is no shame for a team like Optic, especially in this year’s stacked TI.

What’s next for Optic Gaming: Improving their young players, CCnC and 33. I think that Zai and Pajkatt may want to find a team that can win immediately, though, so I think the roster may change.

VGJ.Storm

Another team that exceeded expectations – VGJ.Storm reached the Grand Finals of the MDL Changsha Major, losing to LGD. As a relatively newer team, I think VGJ.Storm did really well, topping Group B over the likes of VP and Team Secret. They’ve only finalized their roster in April this year. At this point, VGJ.Storm’s Top 8 finish is a respectable feat, and I hope the team takes that win under their belt to improve.

What’s next for VGJ.Storm: Retaining this roster and getting better for next season. The team looks like they gel with each other, and that’s important for a team game like Dota.

Team Serenity

The Chinese Open Qualifier slot, Team Serenity was dubbed Wings Lite, barely making their way on the Main Event, and even defeating Fnatic in the BO1 Lower Bracket rounds. Serenity is a relatively young team, with most players only starting their competitive careers in 2016. By avoiding elimination and even making it to top 12, they’ve already achieved a lot.

What’s next for Team Serenity: I expect their players to be poached. This year was very weak for China, and more established teams will look elsewhere to replace their players.

Winstrike Team

Another team coming in with almost no expectations, Winstrike qualified through the CIS Open Qualifier, taking it over Team Empire and Vega Squadron. With familiar names such as Silent, Iceberg, and ALWAYSWANNAFLY, Winstrike Team were also expected to lose to last year’s TI finalists Newbee, but made it past them to end their run on the Top 12.

What’s next for Winstrike Team: Improving in the CIS region – with Navi uncertain and Vega and Empire looking weak, Winstrike can look to be the second best CIS team consistently behind VP.

The Losers

Virtus Pro

This squad won 4 majors and looked too be finally getting their groove in time for The International. However, they did not perform to expectations – being the top DPC team and being strong all year means that most people should expect them to place well in The International – top 4 at least. They instead dropped to Top 6. That is not a bad result, but for a team that was dominant throughout the season, that was a disappointment. VP have always underperformed in The International – may it be nerves or what, they need to find a way to get this team of 5 amazing players mentally prepared for the biggest tournament of the year.

What’s next for Virtus Pro: Hiring a sports psychologist or mental coach to improve how they perform. They obviously have the talent and the teamwork, so they just need that extra help to hoist the Aegis.

Newbee

Last year’s Upper Bracket Grand Finalist. They retained the same roster from last year’s amazing run, and even won two minors. But outside of that, Newbee did not look hungry for this year’s Aegis. Suffering a first round exit in the lower bracket against Winstrike Team, they’ve really underperformed. I don’t see them sticking together after this run, unless they figure something out to improve next year.

What’s next for Newbee: The team needs to reform to find that drive to play again, so I see some players being switched out at the very least.

Team Secret

Also Top 3 in the DPC rankings, Team Secret came into the tournament with a lot of expectations, but dropped to the Lower Bracket after losing to EG 0-2. Team Secret did look strong, making it all the way to Top 6 and only losing to Team Liquid – where they did not ban Broodmother for two games.

What’s next for Team Secret: I don’t see them keeping Fata, and would possibly look to get an upgrade there. Puppey, Yapzor, Ace should stay together, but I also have doubts where MidOne is headed to.

Fnatic

Where do I even start? Fnatic had a very disappointing year, with the untimely kicking of Ohaiyo, and not performing in tournaments. The shining star of the team is DJ, who I don’t see staying in the team for long as a support of his talent deserves way better. With an early exit in the Lower Bracket against Team Serenity, Fnatic did not perform very well in the tournament.

What’s next for Fnatic: A disband. I don’t think the players will stay – the Fnatic squad has always looked like they were only in it for one run, but each player would definitely want to find a team they’re more comfortable with.

Mineski

Mineski was the first SEA team to win a major – DAC 2018. Their victory was a team with 5 great players finally gelling together. After DAC, Mineski looked very disorganized, with questionable drafts and ultimately bowing out early in the second round against Virtus Pro. Mineski were not consistent at all with their performances, with high peaks, and low troughs. They need to find a way to work better together.

What’s next for Mineski: Changing players. They look like they have communication issues – not sure exactly where, but they need to find a team that meshes. They have 5 great individual players, but if they don’t work as a team, they won’t be able to win consistently.

TNC Predator

TNC were dark nights in previous TIs. Remember them eliminating OG in 2016 when they were the favorites to take it all? TNC was still the best SEA team outside of Mineski, but they did not look strong at all coming into TI. True enough, had an early exit, losing in the BO1 against their SEA brothers Mineski.

What’s next for TNC: A better team structure, and possibly changing their offlaner (SamH).

Vici Gaming

Coming in 6th in the DPC Season, Vici Gaming placed second last in their group, narrowly avoiding a Group Stage exit. They needed to eliminate sister team VGJ.Thunder in order to survive, but got eliminated by Team Secret.

What’s next for Vici Gaming: They also looked like a team that did not have the hunger to win. Looking at a big roster change for VG, possibly with 3 players changed.

VGJ.Thunder

Another squad with low expectations. VGJ.Thunder have always felt like that fringe team that would qualify, but would never be considered a top team. Unfortunately, they needed to face their Chinese brethren, Vici Gaming, on their way out of the competition.

What’s next for VGJ.Thunder: I’m out of sorts for this team honestly. I don’t think any player on this roster is worth building around, so they should rebuild it from scratch.